How Do Dietary Carbohydrates Affect Blood Cholesterol?

Although carbohydrates are essential for a healthy diet, one should understand that eating too much of carbohydrates can raise your blood cholesterol levels. A prolonged raise in blood cholesterol can cause diabetes and heart diseases. On the other hand, inadequate amount of carbohydrates in your body can cause you weakness and tiredness.

Types of carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates provide energy in the form of glucose or sugar to your body. There are two main varieties of carbohydrates, viz: simple and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates:

  • Simple carbohydrates are the refined sugars like brown sugar, table sugar and corn syrup
  • Sugars that found in candies and baked food goods
  • Naturally occurring sweeteners like honey and sugar found in fruits

Complex carbohydrates:

  • Complex carbohydrates are the starches found in starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes, and grain products.
  • Dietary fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain products.
  • Some of the good sources of complex carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, pasta, breads, cereals, rice, seeds, nuts, dried beans and peas.
  • It is believe that about 55-60% of calories are received from carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates.

How eating dietary fiber and foods rich in starches help lower blood cholesterol?

Consuming more of the starches and foods high in dietary fiber such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts can reduce your blood cholesterol levels in many ways:

  • Foods rich in carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories.
  • Some of the great sources of dietary fiber are whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables. Dietary fiber, particularly the soluble fiber can reduce the blood cholesterol levels by removing cholesterol from the body before it starts forming plaque on the artery wall.
  • Foods rich in soluble fiber are beans, peas, oat bran, citrus fruits, psyllium seed and rice bran.
  • Carbohydrate rich vegetables and fruits also contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, E and other elements that function as antioxidants, which prevent blockage of artery.

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